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County of Sonoma Benefit Information Upon Separation From Employment

Medical, Dental, and Vision Insurance

Contact Human Resources Benefits Unit (707) 565-2900 or benefits@sonoma-county.org

Your active employee medical, dental, and vision coverage end on the last day of the month after the layoff/termination/loss of eligibility date. You have the option of continuing coverage under a federal program called COBRA (Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act). COBRA allows you to continue your medical, dental, EAP, and vision coverage for generally up to 18 months from your coverage termination date by paying the full cost of the coverage plus a 2% administration fee. You will receive information and the COBRA Notification regarding your eligibility and option to continue coverage within 45 days after your last day of coverage. Important note: You only have 60 days from the date you receive the COBRA Notification to make your elections for COBRA health coverage and must pay the premiums within 45 days of your election, retroactive to the last day of coverage. So you may want to act promptly upon receipt of the notice to prevent a loss of coverage or a large retroactive premium invoice.

You have the option to drop coverage for any one or all of your dependents at the time you elect COBRA coverage, but you may not add coverage for anyone not already covered except newly eligible dependents such as a newborn.

You will receive the COBRA offer at your home address from a third party administrator, Discovery Benefits. If you have questions after you receive your COBRA offer, please contact Discovery Benefits at 1-866-451-3399 or www.discoverybenefits.com. Be sure to keep your payroll clerk informed of any address changes for you and your eligible dependents or update your address on the county’s Employee Self Service site available on the internet.

Medical Severance Benefit (Layoffs Only)

For employees covered by SEIU, Salary Resolution, WCE, and ESC in bargaining units 00, 01, 05, 10, 21, 25, 45, 49, 50, 51, 52, 60, 75, 80, and 95:

If you are enrolled in medical coverage offered by the County and are laid off, the SEIU MOU (20.3.6), the WCE MOU (18.15), the ESC MOU (20.5(e)), and the Salary Resolution (30.4) provide for a continued County contribution toward your medical coverage.

The County will make its usual medical insurance contribution for the first six pay periods following layoff and one half (50%) of its normal contribution for the next six pay periods following layoff. This is coordinated with COBRA.

Dental and Vision Insurance

If you are enrolled in dental and/or vision coverage offered by the County and are laid off, you and your covered dependent(s) will receive a COBRA offer at your home address from a third party administrator. This is coordinated on the same notice with your COBRA continuation of medical coverage, if enrolled, though you may choose to make separate elections for each by continuing any one benefit or all benefits. For example, you may choose to continue your dental coverage, but not your medical coverage. If you have questions after you receive your COBRA offer, please contact the phone number on the notice.

Life Insurance

Eligibility for life insurance ceases upon termination from County employment. You may convert your coverage to an individual policy through the Hartford Life Insurance Company. Your application must be submitted and the first premium paid to Hartford Life and Accident within 31 days after termination of insurance under the County’s group policy. Request the conversion application after you separate service. More detailed plan information may be obtained from the Human Resources Benefits Unit (707) 565-2900 email: benefits@sonoma-county.org) or The Hartford Life Insurance Company, (888) 563-1124.

Employee Assistance Program (EAP)

You are eligible to obtain benefits through the Employee Assistance Program until your last day of employment. Contact them at 800-227-1060 for details. You will also have the opportunity to elect to continue your EAP coverage through COBRA.

Retiree Medical HRA (Health Reimbursement Arrangement)

If you have a retiree medical HRA account, and are age 50 or older or are retiring, you may be eligible to begin receiving reimbursements from your HRA for eligible medical expenses.

If you are under age 50 and not retiring, you may leave your funds on deposit until attaining age 50 or retiring, when you will then be eligible to begin receiving reimbursements.

No withdrawals are allowed prior to age 50 or retirement.

Contact the HRA plan administrator at 1-800-688-2611 for more details or the Human Resources Benefits Unit at (707) 565-2900 or benefits@sonoma-county.org.

Active Employee HRA (Health Reimbursement Arrangement)

If you have an active employee HRA account you may be eligible to leave your funds on account and continue receiving reimbursements from your HRA for eligible medical expenses.

Contact the HRA plan administrator at 1-800-688-2611 for more details or the Human Resources Benefits Unit at (707) 565-2900 or benefits@sonoma-county.org.

Retirement

Contact Sonoma County Employees’ Retirement Association (SCERA), call (707) 565-8100 and ask to speak to a Benefits Specialist regarding pension eligibility. HR Benefits Unit, at (707) 565-2900, makes the final eligibility determination of a County contribution toward Retiree Medical Plans for employees hired before January 1, 2009.

Deferred Compensation

Contact Karen Davis, Deferred Compensation, at (707) 565-3221

457 Retirement Plan

Contributions cease at the time of termination. You may take your account balance as a withdrawal and applicable taxes will be withheld. If your account exceeds a specific amount ($1,000), you may leave the funds in the account until such time as you wish to take a withdrawal; maximum age is 70½. To take any action on your account, you will need to complete a Payment Option Form available through the Auditor-Controller-Treasurer-Tax Collector’s Office. If your balance is less than $1,000, and no action is taken within 30 days from your termination date, the amount will be automatically distributed less applicable taxes. There are no early withdrawal penalties for 457 plans.

401(a)

Contributions cease at the time of termination. You may leave the funds in the account until such time as you wish to take a withdrawal and applicable taxes will be withheld. If you are under the minimum age is 59½ at the time of withdrawal, there is an early withdrawal penalty (10%). There is no minimum dollar amount for maintaining a balance in your account. To take any action on your account, you will need to complete a Payment Option Form available through the Auditor-Controller-Treasurer-Tax Collector’s Office. A copy of the IRS Rules will be provided when the Payment Option Form is requested. For 401(a) accounts, there will be no automatic lump sum payment if no action is taken on your behalf.

With both types of accounts, should you wish to maintain a balance, you can still change your investment options.

You can contact the above number to discuss related questions.

Vacation, Compensatory Time Off, and Sick Leave Payoffs

Contact your department Payroll Clerk.

Employees who terminate employment are entitled to payment for all unused vacation and compensatory time off accrued at the time of separation. Employees in some bargaining units, who are separated from employment due to lay off, are also eligible to receive payment for 25% of all unused sick leave accrued at the time of separation. Please refer to the applicable MOU or the Salary Resolution for specific details. Payment is at the employee’s base hourly rate. Payoff is normally received one to two pay periods following termination of County employment.

Flexible Spending Accounts – DCAP/Health FSA

Contact the FSA plan administrator at 1-800-688-2611 for more details or the Human Resources Benefits Unit at (707) 565-2900 or benefits@sonoma-county.org.

Dependent Care Assistance Plan (DCAP)

No additional deposits can be made to your DCAP account after your termination date and this program is not eligible for continuation through COBRA. However, you can continue to submit eligible expenses until your account is exhausted. Expenses must meet the eligibility requirements defined in the Summary Plan Document.

Health Flexible Spending Account (FSA)

Claims for valid Health FSA expenses incurred during the portion of the plan year in which you were covered prior to the termination date of your coverage can be submitted until the end of the plan’s runoff period (March 31st). However services must have been incurred on or before your coverage termination date to be eligible for reimbursement, unless you continue your coverage through COBRA, (see below). If you wish to continue to make deposits to your account or submit eligible expenses incurred after your coverage termination date you must elect COBRA continuation coverage as explained below.

You may be eligible to continue your Health FSA account through COBRA. This continuation will only be available until the end of the plan year’s grace period, which is March 15 in the year following your termination. If you have a positive unreimbursed account balance, COBRA enables you to continue participation by making after-tax contributions to your account. To receive reimbursement for eligible medical expenses incurred after coverage termination, a COBRA election must be made within 60 days of your receipt of the COBRA Notification and premiums made by the due date specified in the notice.

Severance Period (only for employees who are terminated due to lay-off)

Contact your designated department contact.

All employees generally receive at least three weeks notice in advance of being laid off. If you are covered by SEIU, ESC, or the Salary Resolution, and are laid off and cannot displace another employee or secure other regular County employment, you may be eligible to separate from county service prior to your layoff date and receive your normal base salary for the hours you would normally be scheduled to work during the remainder of the three week period. Please refer to the appropriate MOU or the Salary Resolution for specific details.

Housing Assistance Committee (HAC)

Contact Community Development Commission at (707) 565-7514.

The Housing Assistance Committee has adopted a deferral policy for employees that are laid off and may have a Rental/Mortgage Assistance Loan, a First-Time Home Buyer Loan, or a Housing Rehabilitation Loan from the Housing Assistance Fund. At an employee’s request, loan payments can be deferred for up to six months from the date of termination from County employment.

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Updated February 11, 2014

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